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Jun 25th 2013 at 7:21 AM

The Internet or World Wide Web is a huge expanse of countless websites. These websites can range from online shopping to photo sharing, social networking to government related information. People can hop online and check their bank account balance or talks to a relative from far away, or post a photograph of the day’s events. They can read the news and check their local TV listings. While big websites that are well known most likely use a dedicated web hosting service, smaller websites might use a different type of web hosting program. Essentially, the web host provides the memory needed as well as the bandwidth allowance that is used up when people click on a website.

An idea for a website might seem easy at the moment, and the layout and design could already be embedded in your mind. But none of it is possible without the web host helping it along the way. For newbie’s who are just venturing out into the world of web design and website publishing, choosing the right web host can be a daunting task. It is essential to understand the inner workings of web hosting as well as know what to look for when you make your decision. Otherwise, you might not get as much as you pay for, and could end up sabotaging your own website with lack of memory, bandwidth, or server capability. For people venturing out into the world of Internet business, or for those who simply want to create a website of their very own, it’s an essential to know what is involved when it comes to web hosting.

If you have a small business or a brand new site that you’re publishing just for fun, free web hosting might be the way to go. These services are often advertisement driven, which means you're basically at the mercy of the hosts advertisers, and they can put banner ads, pop ups, and other ads wherever and however they see fit. These free sites often look a bit cluttered, and can sometimes drive visitors away but they get the job done: a free website for the publisher or customer in exchange for lots of advertising revenue.

These types of web hosting programs are free of charge but they do not usually present your website in the best light possible. A shared web hosting service is a slight step above, and is much more commonly used. This term means that the website is on the same server as several other websites, and is sometimes hosted with a reseller. There can be thousands of shared sites under one web hosting plan all at the same time. These plans offer more bandwidth and some more options for programming the website, but their bandwidth and memory allotment might be on the lower side.

These types of web hosts are usually for people who are just starting out on the web and simply need something that works but that does not cost too much. A dedicated server web hosting plan basically means that the website is on its own stand-alone server. This is good for websites that perform a lot of volume and is often used by much larger companies who need as much server room as possible in order to host the best site they can dedicated web hosting is usually what large websites run on. These have their very own servers and each website might even have its own server room where the server is kept cool and under lock and key.

Dedicated web hosting allows for much more memory and bandwidth and the web designer can change and add much more without worrying about it being too much volume for the server, which can in turn override the website and cause it to practically shut down. While the price of dedicated web hosting is usually much higher, the stability and flexibility is definitely worth it.

There are a few other forms of web hosting, and all require some sort of registration or membership, so that the website and domain being hosted is registered properly online. There is a cost for web hosting, but this cost can vary greatly depending on a few different factors. Price is important, but there really is no one size fits all when it comes to web hosting providers. Some of the factors for pricing include the form of web hosting, the cost of server space, any advertising costs associated with it, as well as domain name registration.

For smaller companies or individuals with web hosting accounts, there is usually a monthly fee of some kind in order to maintain the site and pay for the costs. Lager companies may charge an annual one time membership fee, or can even charge usage fees that depend on how much memory and bandwidth your website requires.

Depending on what your needs are, you can opt for a higher end web hosting service that offers forms customers or visitors can complete and submit, flash presentations, and even interactive chat. The most basic web hosting services usually only offer a simple website with graphics and links, and typically cannot or will not support the extras that a higher end hosting service would. An interface that allows the host or web designer to log in and make any necessary changes is essential to making sure you have control over the content and the amount of times the website is updated. Being able to reach customer or others whenever you like through the site is essential.

If you’re new to the world of web design and maintenance, it’s important to know what you’re looking for when you choose a web hosting plan. Without this knowledge, you can end up with a site that crashes, slows down, is not secure, or simply does not provide you with the memory and speed you need to maintain a professional website. There are many different things that work hand in hand to make up a solid web hosting plan. Be sure you are aware of what these things are in advance, so you can make the best choice for your needs.

No matter what you choose for a web hosting provider, the amount of downtime vs. uptime is extremely important. Basically, you want to find a hosting service that has maximum uptime, which in turn means that your website is up and available for visitors any time they wish to go to the website.

Understandably, many web hosting services do require some downtime for maintenance or for them to make some adjustments, but in these cases the downtime is usually planned, and they try to choose a time that is off the peak visiting hours of their customer’s sites. Any web hosting plan that promises 100% uptime is probably not being honest. All hosts have times where maintenance needs to be performed, and during those times your website might not be functional. It’s the length of time that the site is down that really matters.

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